Don’t waste food,” my grandfather taught me, an absolute rule in our farming family. He believed that a family of fairies who bless the harvest live in every grain of rice, and to waste one would be disrespectful to the fairies and the farmers of course. (This teaching was reinforced with one spank for every single grain of rice left on your plate.) So we never wasted food in our family. It was an absolute no‑no. However, as I started living alone my fridge became filled with leftover rice, stale bread, leftover chicken, and an assortment of scraps because I didn’t always eat at home. And so I wasted a lot of food and made a lot of fairies cry.
If I could waste so much food living alone, just think of how much wastage your average hotel has. According to Makati Shangri‑la Hotel Manager Udo Wittich, who chatted with reporters who attended their World Food Day Celebration last October 16 at the hotel’s Circles Events Café, the luxury hotel used to waste seventeen sacks of rice daily! (My mind reeled as I tried to calculate how many times they would have been spanked by my grandfather and how many fairies have earned their wrath.) Since the hotel had made a conscious effort to reduce food waste, they have been able to reduce their rice wastage by 20 percent.
“Makati Shangri‑La takes an active participation in making the world a better place by promoting various sustainable practices and teaching how everyone in our local communities can do the same from home. Observing World Food Day is one of these best practices, which are all hinged on the organization’s corporate social responsibility and commitment to sustainability,” said Mr. Wittich.
The chefs of Makati Shangri‑la, led by Executive Chef Nicola Canuti shared some of the recipes that they have come up with using leftovers from the hotel’s buffet. These delicious dishes are also served at the Circles buffet, ensuring that they waste less food and feed more stomachs. While these recipes use hotel‑grade ingredients, the chefs an Mr. Wittich were kind enough to chat with us and provide alernative ingredients that we can find in our own refrigerators. And these dishes are so easy to prepare too!
“We feel saddened with the good ingredients going to waste. With this, we thought of simple but creative ways on how to make delicious and nutritious food with ingredients that are often disregarded,” said Mr. Canuti.
And so as they have shared their recipes with us, we will share these recipes with you, as well as the grocery alternatives for some of the ingredients. The bread pudding, by the way, would be absolutely perfect for Christmas time.
Green Mango Salad with Beef (or whatever you have with you)
Leftovers: Cooked beef (Makati Shangri‑la uses beef from their carving station).
200 g cooked beef
30 g chopped cashew or peanuts
2 pcs green mangoes
10 g fresh coriander, chopped
5 g mint, chopped
1 cup lime juice (calamansi is a lime)
4 tsp granulated sugar
4 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 pc chili pepper thinly sliced (or more if you want it spicier)
1 cup red onions, sliced
A knife, a bowl, that’s it.
- Toast nuts over medium heat until fragrant and golden, about 8 minutes; set aside.
- Peel mangoes and cut into strips.
- In a bowl, mix together the coriander, mint, lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, oil and chili. And the julienne of mangoes, red pepper and onion.
- Slice beef into strips and mix in.
Note: A Vietnamese family friend makes a similar recipe using basil leaves instead of coriander and mint, and boiled chicken instead of beef, plus rock salt.
Leftovers: Bread, cheese, beef (also from Makati Shangri‑la’s carving station).
2 slices rye bread (or white bread, or toast)
2 tsp butter at room temperature
2 tbsp Reuben’s Russian Dressing (or Thousand Island dressing)
¼ cup well‑drained, fresh‑style sauerkraut (cabbage strips cooked in vinegar and white wine, the flavor would be a bit similar to atsara)
2 ounces thinly sliced Gruyere or Swiss cheese (or the hardened cheese product in your fridge)
¼ pound thinly sliced beef
A bread toaster/sandwich maker/non‑stick pan.
- Toast bread on both sides.
- Spread a tablespoon of dressing over two slices of bread, add the sauerkraut and the beef. Cover with cheese.
- Grill until the cheese has melted (Chef Canuti used a blowtorch for this. SparkUp does not promote the making and use of improvised blowtorches. Please grill the cheese as you usually would until it’s nice and soft).
- Slap another piece of bread on top of this one. Enjoy.
Leftovers: Rice, bread to make breadcrumbs.
500 g stale rice (bahaw, beshie)
300 g mushroom (button mushroom/shiitake mushroom/any mushroom as long as you’re absolutely sure that it’s edible)
30 g butter
20 g parmesan cheese/mozzarrella balls (or whatever cheese you have in your fridge)
1 pc egg
40 g flour
50 g old bread
Deep‑fryer/large saucepan, refrigerator.
- Chop the mushrooms into small pieces and gently stir into the cooked rice. Add the butter and the parmesan, then stir to mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed then leave the risotto to cool.
- If using mini mozzarella balls, halve them. If using part of a large cheese ball or your good old fashioned grocery cheese product, cut into 0.5 cm cubes.
- Roll risotto into balls the size of golf balls. Push a piece of cheese into the middle of each ball, ensuring that the cheese is completely enclosed. Leave to set in the fridge from at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- Layout 3 bowls. Put a beaten egg in one, flour (seasoned with a pinch of salt and papper) in another, and breadcrumbs in the final one.
- Dip the rice ball into the flour and shake off any excess. Then dip it into the egg and allow excess to drip off. Finish by coating completely with breadcrumbs. Repeat until all your balls are covered.
- Heat the deep‑fryer to 170ｰC or fill a large saucepan one‑third full with flavorless oil and heat. Deep‑fry ball in hot oil until it sizzles and turns brown (around 30 seconds).
- Deep‑fry the balls in batches for 2‑3 minutes until golden brown all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
- Serve immediately. It tastes good with ketchup.
Italian Fried Rice
Leftovers: Rice, cooked meat (like breakfast ham).
500 g stale rice
100 g white onion
100 g zucchini (or aubergine a.k.a. talong)
100 g cooked ham (or spam, or hotdog, or whatever’s there)
50 g rosemary (thyme if you’re feeling French, basil works too)
salt and pepper
- Chop onions in brunoise and cook in olive oil. Put them aside, and in the same pan cook the ham cubes until brown and crispy. (If you want to cook them at the same time, cook the ham first then add the onions).
- Cut the zucchini into cubes and deep‑fry them in olive oil.
- Sauté all the ingredients together, season with salt and pepper. Simmer for five minutes and add rosemary.
Croissant Bread and Butter Pudding
6‑8 pcs croissants (or white bread, or pandesal, or whatever bread you have lying around)
50 g raisins (you can also use chocolate chips)
300 ml double cream
300 ml milk
4 pcs eggs
½ tsp ground cinnamon (you can also use vanilla)
70 g caster sugar
- In a single tray, arrange a single layer of croissant chunks, slightly overlapping at the bottom of the dish. Scatter some of the raisins. Place another layer of croissant chunks on top and scatter over the remaining raisins. Press down gently.
- To make the custard, heat the cream and milk in a saucepan until the mixture almost comes to a boil. Remove from the heat. Whisk together eggs, ground cinnamon and sugar in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water until the mixture has thickened and the whisk or beater leaves a trail when lifted. Remove from the heat and beat in the cream and milk until well mixed.
- Pour two‑thirds of the custard over the croissant and leave to stand for about 30 minutes or until the bread has soaked up all the liquid.
- Preheat the oven to 180葑.
- Add the remaining custard on top of the croissants and bake for 30 minutes.
BONUS RECIPE (Thank you, Mr. Wittich!)
- Put vanilla pod in an air‑tight jar of sugar.
- Leave for a week, longer if you want more flavor.
- Enjoy your vanilla infused sugar for your drinks and desserts! Sweet!